Farmers submit memorandum to Collector at meeting

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should probe into the alleged violations, now getting exposed in the raids, in granite quarry operations in Madurai district, farmers have said.

Submitting a memorandum to Collector Anshul Mishra at the monthly grievance meeting held here on Friday, farmers also demanded adequate compensation for the losses incurred through these years due to the rampant granite mining in and around their lands.

While congratulating the officials and the police teams for their ‘good’ work done so far in unravelling the violations through spot inspection of 175 granite quarries in and around Melur, at least three to four speakers wanted the officials to go deep into the irregularities and punish the guilty. In hamlets like Keelavalavu, Keelaiyur and other places, the granite quarry operators had indulged in total violation, they alleged.

The farmers thanked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for keeping up her promise made during electioneering by taking a firm action in this issue. “It is better late than never to act against those who have brought huge loss to the exchequer. By stopping granite quarrying the officials have protected the lives of several thousands of people,” they said.

The farmers further said that with no rains so far in the region, there were very little chances for paddy cultivation now. In the event of the same trend continuing till September, the district might be declared as drought hit and relief given adequately.

During the meeting, there were also allegations of encroachment by real estate agents, who, under the guise of promoting housing plots/sites in Vadipatti area, trespassed and blocked the water channels close to agricultural lands. The Collector ordered issuance of notices to the plot promoters under Section 133 Cr. P.C. through the revenue authorities concerned wherever there were similar complaints.

When a sugarcane farmer, Ponraj of Peraiyur, blamed the field officer for not taking prompt action in cutting the standing sugarcane crop even after repeated reminders, a visibly irked Collector sought an explanation from the official concerned. “All my four acres of sugarcane is lost today,” the farmer claimed.

The farmers’ representatives wanted early commissioning of the Dera Parai dam as it would benefit around 300 hamlets in the region. Mr. Mishra directed the RDO Usilampatti to expedite the work in coordination with the PWD engineers.

DRO Raveendran, RDO (Usilampatti) Shanti, officials from various departments participated.

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